Zayed University has said it is "disappointed" by online speculation that it is ending all of its traditional degrees in favour of interdisciplinary courses.
The Abu Dhabi institution is overhauling its curriculum to better prepare students for the workplace, including the incorporation of a College of Interdisciplinary Studies.
CIS teaches courses from different disciplines, mixing ideas from political science and psychology, for example, as well as offering real-world workplace experiences.
The three new courses – computational science, social innovation and business transformation – are being run as part of a tie-up with US education provider, Minerva Project, called Zayed University X Minerva.
Yesterday, speculation on social media suggested the CIS would bring an end to traditional courses at the university, and that the courses being offered were not accredited.
In response, the Ministry of Education wrote on Twitter: "It is not true what is being circulated in some social media accounts that the academic programmes offered at Zayed University are not accredited."
In a statement issued on Wednesday night, Zayed University said it continues to develop and evolve to keep pace with the requirements of the public and private-sector workplaces.
"Firstly, we would like to reiterate that Zayed University and the degrees it offers are accredited by the Commission for Academic Accreditation under the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research," it said.
"Our students are our principal concern; accordingly, all determinations made by the university keep student well-being at the core of our process of decision-making.
"The nation’s strategy to enter advanced sectors drives the evolution of our academic specialisations and curricula, as is normal practice in top-tier educational institutions.
"This is part of our drive to continuously improve the quality of education and student experience at the university. Furthermore, our recently incorporated College of Interdisciplinary Studies is a core part of the innovative approach to education offered by Zayed University.
"Its initiation into the university’s programme is a result of an extensive review and assessment that proved a high degree of confidence in its success.
"The CIS programme is not only expected to grow Zayed University’s academic standings but also provide future leaders that will shape the tomorrow.
"We would like to assure the public that enrolment in the College of Interdisciplinary Studies is decided upon by the students who would like to pursue studies there.
"The standing faculties at the university remain in continuous course development, which is conducted in consultation with the student body as well as community recommendations to preserve students’ interest."
Zayed University said social media speculation was "biased and unfair", and had instigated mass concern based on misinformation. On Wednesday, tweets about Zayed University were leading online discussions.
"We assure students and parents alike that Zayed University maintains high academic standards, and is adhering to the tenets of the UAE Ministry of Education," it said.
"Zayed University expresses its great disappointment at the misinformation that has emerged regarding recent changes in the educational curriculum."
Earlier this summer, Muna AlSeeni, director of strategy and The Future Department at Zayed University, told The National that the institution decided to focus on the new CIS approach in part to address a looming problem: a quarter of today’s jobs will vanish in the coming years.
"The new courses will prepare students better for increasing uncertainty, but help them remain relevant in their professional careers," Ms AlSeeni said.
“These are triggers and drivers in our decision [to transition to offering purely interdisciplinary degrees]."